At 8 a.m. on a brisk Saturday morning, a crew of 16 from the NYC Adventure Cycling Club loaded up their tents, sleeping bags, cooking utensils and whatever else they could attach to their bikes, and pedaled north toward Croton Point Park — a 50-mile haul. The crew crossed north Manhattan and entered the South County Trailway, a scenic 12.5-mile stretch of paved paradise, at Van Cortlandt Park.
We joined up with a larger group at Van Cortlandt Lake, some decked out in their finest Halloween attire (e.g., a taco, a ballerina dancer, a bike carrying everyone’s favorite interplanetary traveler, E.T.). Riding north, we passed by the quaint village of Hastings-on-Hudson, and what seemed like an endless array of decorative birdhouses and wooded scenery along the trail. Next stop was Elmsford, for a quick parking lot lunch outside the Elmsford Deli, before riding up the North County Trailway past Rockefeller State Park Preserve to Briarcliff Manor. Winding down Pleasantville Road, we made our way to the historic village of Ossining. With the help of some friendly local passersby, we found the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, joined the others at North Highland Avenue, and pedaled over the Croton River bridge into the village of Croton-on-Hudson.
We passed a cyclocross event riding into Croton Point Park. Racers spun fast laps around a closed course with the Hudson River and blue skies as a stunning backdrop. Our crew had expanded to nearly 30 by the time we settled in at the Croton Point Park campground. With the evening quickly approaching, a group of us hopped on our bikes and cruised down to an undisclosed enclave near Tellers Point for a celebratory imbibe and a rock skipping contest, and to catch a perfect sunset. Back at camp, the crew had fired up a toasty campfire. With drinks and snacks at the ready, our resident chef who I will refer to as “Taco” (he was dressed as a taco) had started grilling sausages, corn on the cob, and “steaks for the people.” The storytelling, laughter and the forging of community and new friendships stretched into the wee hours of the night. A weekend we’ll certainly never forget.
Travis A. Tatman